All greenwashing Events

In the spring of 2015, shortly after launching our campaign urging museums to cut all ties to the fossil fuel industry, The Natural History Museum occupied the largest exhibitor space at the American Alliance of Museums annual convention in Atlanta. The AAM convention is the world’s largest gathering of museum professionals, with 7000 museum staff from 60 countries in attendance.

The Natural History Museum highlights the socio-political forces that shape nature, yet are excluded from traditional natural history museums. Our primary subject of study is the “fossil fuel ecosystem”, characterized by a complex set of interrelated feedback loops encompassing land, energy, politics, society, economics and culture.

At the AAM convention we turned our anthropological gaze on traditional science museums as ideological habitats within this ecosystem. We re-created installations from New York’s American Museum of Natural History, including previously excluded socio-political context about the museum’s board member and biggest sponsor, David H. Koch.

“It’s well known that David Koch and his brother have spent tens of millions of dollars on climate science disinformation. For a museum to accept funding from them undermines its educational purpose, causes the museum great harm, and confuses the public, which is the greatest harm of all. The museum of the future, as the museum of the present, has the responsibility to present the best science and to describe efforts that science, especially by vested interests.”

Eric Chivian, a physician, was a professor at Harvard Medical School and the founder and former director of its Center for Health and the Global Environment (now based at the Harvard School of Public Health and called the Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment). In 1980, he co-founded the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, winner of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize.